News Briefs Archive

State Law Passes, Securing Scope Expansion for Injections & Optometric Laser Procedures

Doctor Explaining Eye Exam Results To Patient

Photo credit: Getty Images

Expanding what ODs can do for patients in one state.

April 3, 2024

The American Optometric Association (AOA) reported last month that South Dakota ODs won a significant scope of practice expansion.

Signed into law on March 5 by Gov. Kristi NoemH.B. 1099 allows doctors of optometry to administer injections around the eye, use local anesthetic for office-based surgical procedures and perform laser procedures, including selective laser trabeculoplasty (SLT) and posterior capsulotomy with a yttrium aluminum garnet laser (YAG), in accordance with new education and certification requirements.

South Dakota becomes the latest state to authorize such in-office procedures, coming on the heels of an ophthalmology workforce report finding ophthalmology unable to meet the increasing demand for age-related eyecare in the years ahead, the AOA notes.

Specifically, the law now permits optometrists in South Dakota to provide: 

  • Intradermal injection of a paralytic agent 
  • Intralesional injection of a steroid to treat a chalazion 
  • Local anesthetic in conjunction with the primary removal of a pedunculated skin tag 
  • SLT and YAG  
  • Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) therapy for dry eye 

AOA notes that “despite all procedures being taught in every school and college of optometry in the nation since at least 2015, optometrists will be required to complete a three-part ‘prove up’ process to perform any added procedure.” This process requires: 

  1. Passage of both a national examination on laser and injection procedures (graduates prior to July 1, 2024, will be grandfathered in).
  2. Passage of a 32-hour certification course to demonstrate competency on each of the added procedures.
  3. Hands-on demonstration of the procedures on at least five human eyes (SLT) and 10 human eyes (YAG) under the direct supervision of an ophthalmologist or authorized optometrist to prove competency in each procedure. 

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